What Does it Mean to Have “Common Ancestry”?
In this brief video “Conversation” Denis Alexander, director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, explains the definition of common ancestry.
Common ancestry does not mean that we are descended from apes, rather, it means that we last shared a common ancestor with them roughly 6 million years ago. While apes have been evolving their way since that time, so too have humans. Alexander is positive about the notion of common ancestry, “it reflects that God in Genesis 1 looks on the whole created order and says this is good,” he says.
Alexander notes that the narrative of Genesis 1 indicates that on every day the material order that God brings into being is a good thing. On the sixth day He says “and it was very good” which shows that there was a special place accorded for human beings because they were created in God’s image.
The fact that we are all linked up in this evolutionary historical way is “wonderful,” says Alexander. “I find it a privilege that I should be linked up with all of these wonderful creatures and that we are all part of the same history.”
Genesis 1 tells us that all of the created order is good—we are all good according to God, “a good creation.”
Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.
Denis Alexander is the Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion at St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, to which he was elected a Fellow in 1998. Alexander writes, lectures, and broadcasts widely in the field of science and religion. He is a member of the International Society for Science and Religion.